Our week in music looks to some of the standout artists seen at this year's SXSW festival
Big Huge: At The Movies
Self-described as "a frightful/delightful five-piece of ditty pumpers with a heart that bleeds for the wild child, the mood swinger and the lost thought found again," NYC-based Big Huge and their garage-pop sound is a legitimate gang of devoted shredders. The eccentric band took their rock'n'roll show on the road to SXSW this week, where they performed songs to the rowdy crowd at East Side Bikinis. Have a listen to their forthcoming self-released EP Don't Be Shy via Bandcamp, which includes one of our favorites, "At The Movies."
Vancouver Sleep Clinic: Flaws
Australia's 17-year-old Tim Bettinson, the sole talent behind Vancouver Sleep Clinic, offers a stunning addition to the world of electronic folk with his latest track "Flaws." There's the ethereal soundscape and falsetto vocals that we've come to expect from the likes of Bon Iver and Sigur Ros, but with added soul and his unique brand of electronic intrigue. The exquisite track, layered and soothing, with gentle gusts of melody, marked his SXSW debut, but with talent such as his, he's guaranteed to be touring soon.
RAC: Tear You Down feat. Alex Ebert
SoundCloud hosted their first official SXSW showcase this year, and the lineup included a stellar mix of emerging and established artists. One falling somewhere in the middle is André Allen Anjos, better known as the main remix master behind the former collective RAC. The Portland-based Portuguese artist and producer has taken a pause from putting his distinct touch on music from his peers and is releasing his own two-part album, called Strangers. The LP features a range of co-conspirators, including Tegan & Sara, YACHT, Tokyo Police Club and more. For a taste, check out "Tear You Down"—which features Alex Ebert from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
La Femme: Amour Dans Le Motu
Armed with their 2013 debut album named Psycho Tropical Berlin, La Femme are hitting North America and shaking things up, including performances at SXSW. And within the first 10 seconds of their song "Amour Dans Le Motu," we were hooked. There isn't a traditional verse-chorus-bridge structure going on, just some jams that blend Arcade Fire with Stereolab and bit of cold futuristic surf rock (showing off their Biarritz, France beach town roots). The music video is tinged with red lighting and is another adventure of its own and, if that doesn't bewitch you, the sampled flutes and arpeggiated synths will.
NPR Music at SXSW 2014
For music publications, SXSW is what New York Fashion Week is to the Vogue editorial staff—exciting, exhausting and ultimately a sink or swim string of parties, content and cut-throat editorial decision-making. Luckily, the deft-eared team at NPR has been live-compiling their favorites from the annual Austin festival in their Spotify playlist. Not resting on one particular genre, the playlist examines the best of the festival—from hip-hop to folk to electronic—with artists varying in degrees of exposure. Some of the names on the list are familiar but most are fresh-faced indies making their widespread debut. NPR does listeners the ultimate service, giving the option of surveying the best of the festival without the myriad clicks of searching for individual artists.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.